I am finding it difficult to find words to accurately describe my first trip to Haiti. It just isn't possible to put into words how emotional and moving a journey it's been. As I write this message and remember all the beautiful children and amazing people I have met over the last four days I am moved to tears.
Didn't I come to Haiti to help people and to make a difference not the other way around? I did go out on the water truck and fill empty buckets with clean water; played with the sweet children in Cite Soleil, the poorest slum in the Western Hemisphere and spend time with children in orphanages and schools; held and fed tiny, sick babies at Mother Teresa's hospital for the sick and dying babies. And I hope through these actions I was able to help in some small way and, if nothing else, provide some comfort. But something else happened...something so unexpected. As I reflect on the last few days, it appears that the purpose of this trip was to show me my Purpose, to give me a better perspective on the world and my place in it and maybe, most importantly, as Jeff would say, to break my heart wide open.
It's impossible to go to Haiti and not have your heart broken wide open. We all live unbelievably comfortable lives by comparison and while we shouldn’t feel guilty for this, I do hope that our good fortunes will motivate us to want to help others who have less than us. There are so many stories to tell from my trip but I know I can't share them all. I’ll let my photos tell some of the stories and I will share with you one experience that was particularly touching. I met a two year old named Nixon at Mother Teresa's Hospital for the sick and dying babies. As I was holding him in my arms and feeding him his lunch of rice and beans, he reached his little hand into his bowl and picked up a couple of grains of rice and brought it up to my mouth. He looked into my eyes as if to say here, you have some of my food. My heart nearly burst I was so moved. Here is this child who has experienced more hardship and rejection in his two short years on earth than most people do in a lifetime and he is sharing his food with me. What an amazing spirit!
I am not leaving Haiti a different person but rather a person with a different perspective on what is truly important and what really matters in life. The last four days in Haiti have been a true gift and words cannot describe how grateful I am to all of the wonderful people I met here. I have never felt so inspired to do whatever I possibly can to make a difference and to raise as much money as I possibly can to support the projects in Haiti.
I look at my role as a sales rep with Print for Change a little differently now. Yes, I want to produce great products, provide excellent customer service, meet customer expectations but I don't want that to be my primary focus. Ultimately, my job everyday is to help feed, educate and shelter children in Haiti. And now, I've met these adorable, innocent children and their families, looked into their eyes, held their hands and heard their pleas for help. So, I came to Haiti with the intentions to help people but as it turns out, the people in Haiti also helped me.
I urge every person who reads this to take the time to think about what they can do to help the children in Haiti; whether it's to participate in a mission, donate money, spread the word, get others involved. Every act and every donation helps no matter how big or small.
New York, NY
Healing Haiti Team Member
[Joey Perry works as an "agent for change" at Print for Change, a print management company that donates 50% of all profits to support missions in Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Visit www.printforchange.info for more information on how you can use your print purchases to make a difference in this world.]